Request for Debate on Green Paper for social care

There will be a debate on Thursday 29 October on the Social Care Green Paper.

Mr. Paul Burstow (Sutton and Cheam) (LD): May I draw the Leader of the House’s attention to early-day motion 1995?

[That this House notes that in the National Strategy for Carers the Government pledged that by 2018 carers will be supported so that they are not forced into financial hardship by their caring role; believes that carers cannot wait because too many are living in poverty and financial hardship now, struggling to afford the basic costs of living, unable to study or work without their benefits being cut off, or facing the removal of their allowance when they start to claim their pension; further notes that the UK’s six million carers save the country an estimated £87 billion per year, and that in return, the main carer’s benefit is the lowest of its kind, paid at only £53.10 a week for a minimum of 35 hours caring, equivalent to £1.52 per hour, far short of the national minimum wage of £5.73 per hour; supports the Carer’s Poverty Charter signed by the Alzheimer’s Society, Carers UK, Citizens Advice, Contact a Family, Counsel and Care, Crossroads Caring for Carers, Every Disabled Child Matters, for dementia, Mencap, Macmillan Cancer, Motor Neurone Disease Society, National Autistic Society, Oxfam, Parkinson’s Disease Society,

15 Oct 2009 : Column 447 Princess Royal Trust for Carers, Rethink, Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers and Vitalise; and calls on the Government to set out an urgent timetable of action to improve carers’ benefits and income that protects carers from falling into poverty or financial hardship, reflects carers’ different circumstances, helps carers to combine caring with paid work and study and is easy to understand and straightforward to claim.]

The motion highlights the carer’s poverty charter, which has the support of Carers UK, other carers’ charities, patient groups and the Daily Mirror. Its intention is to highlight the fact that the Government have committed themselves to a deadline for dealing with carer poverty by 2018. Should not the issue be dealt with more rapidly? We need to eradicate poverty among carers as soon as possible, and we need an urgent timetable from the Government. May we have an urgent debate on this matter?

Ms Harman: There will be a debate on Thursday 29 October on the social care Green Paper, in which all those issues can no doubt be raised. The number of people over the age of 85 is set to double in the next 20 years, so the care and support provided by health authorities and social services and, above all, by families is a crucial issue. We have introduced a right to flexible working for those with caring responsibilities, and the Prime Minister has announced that we will legislate for a national care service. My hon. Friend can be assured that the question of care is at the front of the Government’s agenda, and we will be able to debate it on Thursday 29 October.

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